Western Carolina University’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band has been awarded the prestigious Sudler Trophy, the nation’s highest and most-coveted award for college and university marching bands.
Formal presentation of the award, which has been called the “Heisman Trophy” of the collegiate marching band world, was held at halftime of WCU’s home football game against Wofford College on Oct. 24.
Western Carolina is the first institution in the state of North Carolina and the first member of the Southern Conference selected for the award. Past recipients of the honor include the universities of Texas, Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Alabama, and Ohio State, Louisiana State, Penn State and Auburn universities.
Established in 1982, the trophy is presented to a college or university marching band that has demonstrated the highest of musical standards and innovative marching routines and ideas, and which has made important contributions to the advancement of the performance standards of college marching bands over a number of years.
WCU Chancellor John Bardo said the award is especially meaningful because it recognizes an extended record of excellence achieved by the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band under the leadership of band director Bob Buckner. Bardo called the band “one of the most important emissaries of WCU for more than a decade.”
The Pride of the Mountains is widely regarded as one of the top marching bands in the Southeast for its elaborate field shows. Often called “the world’s largest funk-rock band,” the unit performs a crowd-pleasing medley of up-tempo pop tunes, with electric guitars, singers and other musical elements not typically associated with marching bands.
The 360-member Pride of the Mountains Marching Band is performing an entirely new show in 2009 – “Born to Be Alive,” featuring the music of the Black Eyed Peas, Pearl Jam, Kanye West, Michael Jackson, the Bee Gees, Maroon 5 and Patrick Hernandez.
For more information about the Pride of the Mountains, visit www.prideofthemountains.com or call 828.227.2259.
High school bands compete at WCU
Western Carolina’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band recently hosted the Tournament of Champions annual invitational competition. Each year, more than 3,000 high school musicians from Tennessee, Virginia, and North and South Carolina come to E.J. Whitmire Stadium at Western Carolina to compete. Twenty-two bands from across the Southeast took part in this year’s event. Carl Harrison High School marching band of Kennesaw, Ga., was named grand champion. Pisgah High School of Canton took second place in Class A. Tuscola High School of Waynesville also competed.